March 3, 2017

Keynote abstract for Eagle Symposium 2013

John Wise, Executive Director at the Pistoia Alliance, is the symposium keynote speaker. His presentation title is: "Open Innovation does work and the Pistoia Alliance shows the way."

Abstract: The Pharmaceutical Industry is troubled. It faces many challenges. The era of abundance of novel medical entities (NMEs) created by its R&D effort is history; we are now living in the era of scarcity of NMEs. The value of drugs losing their patent protection is much greater than the value of new patent-protected drugs coming onto the market. Regulatory agencies demand more from the pharmaceutical industry - both before and after marketing authorisation - to show that the medicines they are developing are safe. Pharma continues to develop drugs that bring just incremental benefits, but these benefits come at a premium price and the payers are now demanding to understand the value of this extra benefit before admitting these new drugs into their formularies. What are the solutions to these problems? To improve R&D efficiency, the pharmaceutical industry has moved strongly towards the concept of “externalisation”; of working with many partners within an information ecosystem to speed innovation and to share development costs.  Actively engaged in supporting this new R&D paradigm is the Pistoia Alliance. The Pistoia Alliance is a unique, formally-incorporated, cross-company, open-innovation organisation established to lowering the barriers to innovation by business process optimisation in the pre-competitive domain. With over 80 members, it is committed to supporting this R&D “externalisation”. One of its past projects, Sequence Services in the Cloud, provides an excellent example of lowering barrier to innovation - as indeed does its Sequence Squeeze Competition that awarded a $10,000 prize for the best-in-class Gene Sequence Data Compression algorithm. The current portfolio of Pistoia Alliance projects is equally committed to supporting the information ecosystem viz:

  • tranSMART - to enable scientists to mine and analyse translation research data,
  • the Pistoia Alliance AppStore - to encourage innovation in the eco-system through the encouragement, creation and discussion of life science R&D Apps,
  • Controlled Substance Compliance Information Service – to enable pharma to maintain compliance in whatever geography they or their externalised research partners are operating,
  • HELM – a standard approach for a computer-based way of managing large molecules such as Peptides, Antibodies, Therapeutic Proteins and Vaccines.

The Pistoia Alliance is primarily a “virtual” organisation. Its governance and project teams operate via telephone, teleconference, webinars and telepresence. However, the Pistoia Alliance does meet physically from time-to-time with annual conferences in the USA and now in Europe too. This talk will touch on these key business drivers and the opportunities that the open innovation forum of the Pistoia Alliance brings to providing novel solutions to some of the more challenging problems in life science R&D. New ideas for Pistoia Alliance workstreams and projects are always welcome. Its growing membership is always keen to hear of new challenges and to find innovative, sustainable solutions to resolve these issues. Just send an e-mail to

Topics: Bioinformatics, Eagle symposium, life science event, Will big data and bigger cuts cripple bioinformati